Marriage on the Rocks
Don’t get me wrong. I love my country. I will go down with the ship. But tonight as I write this, I am like a child of a couple who are not in speaking terms, and I am sad.
The inaugural speeches of President Rody Duterte and Vice President Leni Robredo were quite predictable. They said what we wanted to hear. But VP Leni, God bless her and her children, finally recognized the elephant in the room towards the end of the day. Something was wrong. This is not a normal thing. She said so in her speech to her supporters and admirers at the Quezon Memorial victory party at nighttime, when formalities were over and it was time to talk to family.
“You are my family,” she said, “and I ask you not to leave me. The fight has just started.”
A couple who are not in speaking terms. What a stressful situation to the child in me, to the child in everyone, I suppose. I hang on to every word of my leader. I like governance, thinking that only by good governance, only by way of a good leader, can we really make the country work. But how can the country work when the husband is in love with someone else, the dutiful wife exudes confidence in the marriage, saying she will do her best to make it work, and yet the husband has someone else in mind.
That someone else is no other than Bongbong Marcos. Make no mistake about it. Marcos Jr. won the elections.
“Can his case prosper?” I asked Christian Monsod, who served as Comelec chairman in 1991, after VP Leni’s oath-taking in the Quezon City Reception House.
“No, it won’t,” Monsod answered.
“But he will be in the public eye for the next four years on account of the case filed for allegations of electoral fraud,” he added.
“He likes that,” I said. “Fourteen million can take him to Malacañang in 2022.”
“Yes,” Monsod said.
“And he can fuel the anger of his supporters, thereby endangering the vice president?” I asked.
“That, too,” Monsod said.
So it’s Marcos who has the upper hand, and I’m sadder still.
Ever the dutiful and loving “wife” to the husband whose heart beats for another, VP Leni admonished his supporters at the victory party.
“Let us always be forgiving, knowing that good will always win in the end,” she said. “And in this fight for good, fight with me, fight alongside me.”
“Don’t leave me,” she said, and I could almost hear my heart break into pieces. “Pray for me. We are partners, I am strong only because we are together in this. Always be humble, do not quarrel with our enemies, remember that the world is round. So be good always.”
But ever the gracious woman, Leni reminded everyone in the victory party, smiling all the time, that she is used to hardship. “But we should always set aside our personal interest.”
“And at the end of the six-year term, I hope I will still see the same faces. I recognize so many of you already, you have followed me and supported me in campaign. We are family. You are welcome to my office.”
Note, reader, that this speech happened in a celebratory mood, and the vice president retained her charm and composure, but she knows the situation she is in, and she called for support from her troops. To which the audience howled in agreement.
“President Leni!” someone yelled.
Yes, President Leni. That must be in President Duterte’s mind, and he cannot rest easy, given his friendship with Senator Marcos Jr. After all, he promised to turn over the presidency to the son of the late dictator if he doesn’t solve the drug problem in three to six months. Parenthetically, where’s Allan Peter Cayetano?
Still, the child in me hopes that the “couple” will make their marriage work, for the good of the country. Like the child in the Emperor’s New Clothes, I am saying in all innocence, in the truth that only a child can see:
“But why are they apart?”